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Pujols, Weaver propel Angels to Sox sweep

July 17, 2016

ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols launched two homers in a game for the second time in 2016, powering Jered Weaver and the Angels to an 8-1 win and a series sweep over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.Pujols, who hadn't homered since July 2 in Boston, got

ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols launched two homers in a game for the second time in 2016, powering Jered Weaver and the Angels to an 8-1 win and a series sweep over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.
Pujols, who hadn't homered since July 2 in Boston, got to White Sox starter Jacob Turner with a pair of two-run home runs, in the first and fourth innings, respectively. Turner struggled in his first Major League appearance since 2014, being removed with two runners on and nobody out in the fifth inning before finishing with a final line of eight runs allowed.
"Those two homers to Pujols, I just didn't execute," Turner said. "In the first inning, I was just trying to get back in the count. On the second homer, I was trying to put a breaking ball in the dirt, and I just left it up a little bit too much. Obviously he capitalized on it. Overall, there were just a few times I wasn't able to put guys away when I needed to, and a few times I didn't execute."
White Sox right fielder Adam Eaton laced an RBI double off Weaver in the third inning, snapping a 34-inning scoreless streak for the club. It was the first run allowed by the Angels since the All-Star break, but Weaver settled down and tossed seven innings of one-run ball to get the victory.

"[Jered] was letting it hum a little bit," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He was going after guys with it, making some pitches with it. When you look at the whole package of what Jered does, when he's able to get that fastball coming out of his hand well, it's sneaky. It gets past some guys. Today, he pitched well with everything he had."
The Angels recorded their first series sweep since May 13-15, and have won seven of their last nine games.
Dinger day: Pujols was in vintage form Sunday, ending the Angels' six-game homerless streak with a two-run shot to center field in the first inning. He struck again in the fourth, launching a two-run homer to left field to extend the early lead. It was the 53rd multi-homer game in his career, putting him 12th all-time in that category. He now has 577 career home runs, six away from tying Mark McGwire for 10th on the all-time list.

"Outside of today, we've done a good job of scoring runs without driving the ball out of the ballpark, and that's a good sign," Scioscia said. "But we'll take [homers] when we need them, and Albert hit two big ones today."
The streak is over: The White Sox consecutive-scoreless-innings streak ended when Omar Narváez -- who had doubled off Weaver for his first big league hit -- scored on Eaton's two-out double to left. The White Sox never have been shut out four straight games, but this most recent stretch of futility is tied for third highest for the franchise since 1912, per STATS LLC. The franchise record since 1912 remains 39. The White Sox have been held scoreless in 40 of their last 41 innings played.
"We need to score runs," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Offensively, we've got to pick it up. Scoring one in a series is not going to do it for you. We've got to pick it up offensively and look to do that in Seattle."

Shutting them down: Weaver continued a run of excellent starts by Angels pitchers, becoming the third consecutive starter to go at least seven innings after Héctor Santiago's seven shutout innings Friday and Matt Shoemaker's shutout on Saturday. That's the first time that's happened for the club since July 12-18, 2015, with Andrew Heaney, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards. Over the team's last eight games, starters have a 1.54 ERA. 

"Each and every outing gets better," Weaver said. "The tightness is starting to diminish. It's been quite a long process, a little bit longer than I anticipated, but every start it gets better, and it's heading in the right direction."
Fulmer makes his debut:Carson Fulmer, the White Sox top prospect, per, made his Major League debut Sunday after joining the White Sox Friday. The right-hander couldn't have asked for a better start, as he struck out Pujols on three pitches. Fulmer hurled two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and hitting one, while striking out two.
"It's one of those moments that you try to cherish as much as you can," Fulmer said. "It was definitely an opportunity I'll never forget."

"It's weird, this game, man. We lose [four] in a row to teams we should beat. We go on a spell of winning five of the last six series. We haven't been in that happy-medium area. It's either a good high or a good low."-- White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier .
Angels center fielder Mike Trout snapped an 0-for-10 skid -- the longest for him this season -- with his leadoff double off the top of the wall in the fourth inning. He quickly came around to score, as the next batter, Pujols, launched his second homer of the game. Pujols was 0-for-21 against the White Sox this season prior to today's matchup.
White Sox:Chris Sale last pitched in a regular-season game on July 8, when he allowed a season-high eight runs on 10 hits over five innings in a home loss to the Braves. The AL All-Star Game starter takes a lifetime 4-0 record and 2.66 ERA against the Mariners into Safeco Field. On Monday at 8:10 p.m. CT.
Angels: The Angels will send Nick Tropeano out to start the club's three-game home series against the Texas Rangers on Monday. Tropeano has the best ERA of all Angels starters, but has only completed six innings of work three times. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for based in Anaheim and covered the Angels on Sunday.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.